Tea of the Week for April 17, 2017: April Siesta (Honeybush/Chamomile Blend)!
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Tea Description: I have a confession (although, for anyone who has read many of my reviews from back when I was a tea reviewer - this probably isn't much of a confession) - I'm not particularly fond of chamomile. Oh, I'll drink it (on a rare occasion) but it's not a tea/tisane that I'll grab enthusiastically. It's not something I'll brew every day - I certainly don't like it that much.
That said, I don't hate it either. I'm just kinda 'meh' about it. Not my favorite thing - you know?
I've crafted one blend with chamomile during my time as the Mad Tea Artist of 52Teas - At Play in the Fields of Love - which I blended as a VIT for a special customer. Now, I'm crafting my second chamomile blend - and I'm blending it with one of my very favorite flavors: Licorice! I absolutely love licorice and all herb-y things related to licorice, like licorice root, anise and fennel. But interestingly enough - this is my first time blending a licorice blend. (Although, I did use licorice root in the Butter Beer reblend.) I have refrained from using licorice as a primary flavor in my blends up until now because I realize that it is a somewhat polarizing flavor - most people either love it or hate it - and it seems like it's a even balance between those that like it and those that don't. It's kind of hard to create a winning blend with a featured flavor that is so polarizing.
But I'm hoping that with this blend - I've done just that.
One day while cruising through the internet - I stumbled upon a recipe for a cocktail called "April Siesta." The cocktail features Absinthe which is a licorice-y liqueur and Curacao which is a citrus-y liqueur. These two liqueurs are combined with Cava (Spanish sparkling wine) and simple syrup and topped off with a lemon twist.
So this is my take on this cocktail that I've never actually tasted but was inspired by. I started with organic honeybush, added some chamomile (because when I think 'siesta' - the first herb that comes to mind is chamomile), added licorice root, star anise and some citrus (orange and lemon) wedges. I didn't want the citrus to be too intrusive because I really wanted the licorice-y flavors to be the star of the show but I didn't want the licorice to be so sharp that those who aren't particularly fond of licorice might appreciate this beverage too.
I love this! I can honestly say that this is my favorite blend with chamomile in it - mostly because I can't really taste the chamomile. Instead, I get sweet licorice with light citrus background notes. Yummy!
organic ingredients: honeybush, chamomile, orange, lemon, licorice root, star anise and natural flavors
I'm really thrilled with how this blend turned out. I was a little nervous, to be honest, because I wasn't sure how the licorice would behave with the chamomile and citrus. I wasn't sure how it would turn out because as I said in the above description, I've never actually tasted the cocktail after which I've named this blend.
But I'm loving every sip of this! The licorice is strong - it's the main flavor in the cup. But the orange and lemon add just enough to it to soften the sometimes edgy flavor of the licorice so that what's left is the sweetness of it.
The honeybush adds just a hint of its natural nutty tone and honey-kissed flavor but it's not an obvious flavor - if I had been served this blindly - I wouldn't guess that this is a honeybush blend. I also wouldn't guess that it's a chamomile blend. And to be quite honest, that's just the way I like my chamomile.
Yep - this is a chamomile blend that I'd enthusiastically brew every day! It's really nice!
to brew: I know I've said this before, but this blend MUST be shaken (or even better - stirred!) before it's measured. The chamomile is a very buoyant herb that will 'float' to the top of the pouch while the honeybush and other ingredients will shift to the bottom of the pouch - and you need a fair distribution of both chamomile and honeybush (and other ingredients!) for a proper cup of this tea.
Once you've stirred to incorporate all the ingredients, measure out 2 teaspoons of tea to 12 ounces of nearly boiling water (heated to 195°F) and steep for 6 - 8 minutes (I steeped it for 7 minutes). Strain and let cool for 5 - 10 minutes. Enjoy!